The same can be said for the Hawkeye football program’s interest in Spievey.
With his academic priorities in order and one impressive season of junior college football under his belt, Spievey will return to Iowa City and rejoin the team this summer, Iowa Central head coach Kevin Twait confirmed this week.
‘‘Amari was keeping his fingers crossed the whole time,’’ Twait said. ‘‘He wanted to go back to the University of Iowa and only Iowa. He got serious about his schoolwork and stayed humble. He handled the whole situation very well, and is going to be rewarded now accordingly.
‘‘Iowa has verbally offered again and he’s verbally committed. Of course nothing is set in stone until signing day (in February), but he wants to be a Hawkeye again and they want him back.’’
Spievey, a Middletown, Conn. native who originally signed with Iowa in February of 2006 over Wisconsin and Rutgers, redshirted as a Hawkeye freshman. After losing his academic eligibility that season, Spievey left the program in June of 2007 and joined the junior college ranks to get back on track in the classroom.
Spievey kept his nose clean off the field and blossomed into a superstar on it for the Tritons. The 185-pound defensive back intercepted seven passes, blocked five punts and had two kick returns for touchdowns in helping lead Iowa Central to a 9-2 overall record and No. 7 national ranking. He was voted a team captain, and most recently, named a first team NJCAA All-American — a rare accomplishment for a freshman, according to Twait.
‘‘You don’t see those honors for a first-year player every day. Then again, you don’t see a season like Amari had every day,’’ Twait said. ‘‘He was the true definition of an impact player. Amari made a name for himself in our first game, and he never took his foot off the accelerator.
‘‘I’ve said it before — he’s one of the top two or three players I’ve had here. In terms of being a difference-maker, I’d rank him right up there with Hanik Milligan, a linebacker we had who went on to play at the University of Houston and later became a Pro Bowler with the San Diego Chargers. You just kind of knew that Hanik would have a chance to play on Sundays someday, and I get that same feeling about Amari.’’
Spievey will remain in Fort Dodge for the spring semester, and if all goes well, he’ll be in Iowa City for the Hawkeyes’ strength and conditioning camp this coming June. Spievey is returning as a classified sophomore.
‘‘He’ll have three years left, if everything goes according to plan between now and May,’’ Twait said. ‘‘This was obviously a no-brainer football-wise (for Ferentz), but Coach wanted to make sure all of Amari’s ducks were in a row in the classroom. He’s done everything we’ve asked, both work and attendance-wise.
‘‘He’s takent the whole situation very seriously, because he knows what he wants. Coach Ferentz called the Monday after our bowl game to do kind of a final check, and he was encouraged by Amari’s progress.’’
Contact Eric Pratt at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at email@example.com
Messenger photo by Dana Recker
Iowa Central All-American Amari Spievey will return to the Iowa Hawkeye football team in June, Triton head coach Kevin Twait confirmed this week.